Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftStreet, and DraftKings 5/23/14

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Clayton Kershaw FanDuel 9700 DraftKings 12200 DraftStreet 24978
Felix Hernandez FanDuel 9900 DraftKings 12000 DraftStreet 25226
Look, I'm going to knock both of these guys out of the way to start. For me, I don't think I'm paying for them beyond FanDuel. The price is just nuts on DraftKings and DraftStreet. That being said, I know some folks take the stars and scrubs approach to pitchers in this situation. On those sites it just doesn't, to me, seem like the upside is there with the prices. I think there's a small case for it, but I'm not sure I'm willing to make it. That being said, understand that these are by far the two best pitchers going tonight (really any night) and both get quality matchups in Houston and Philly respectively. They both are aces. On FanDuel, I'd probably actually hedge between both in cash games as their prices and expectations are nearly identical. But if the price is through the roof, I think you can make a case to look elsewhere. But in terms of raw points, these are the two guys.

John Lackey FanDuel 7500 DraftKings 9800 DraftStreet 14564
There are a couple of reasons I like Lackey tonight against the Rays. To start, he's been a good pitcher this year with an xFIP coming in the low threes, almost three quarters of a run lower than his ERA. He's striking batters out at a higher clip than normal and keeping the free passes in check. The Rays are in the middle of the pack against righties, though they don't strike out much. That is offset though by the ballpark in Tampa really depressing power to all hitters. Lackey most likely doesn't represent a bunch of upside, but his floor is high making him a good cash game play.

Tim Lincecum FanDuel 7000 DraftKings 9900 DraftStreet 19077
Having been accused of becoming over-infatuated with Lincecum this season, I'll do my best to keep the Linc love to a minimum. But the fact remains that some of Timmy's numbers still bear trumpeting. His xFIP is a full run and a half lower than his ERA. Some of this is thanks to a Babip significantly higher than his career average. He seems to have issues with runners on base, but overall that Babip should regress some. His HR/FB rate is also higher than even his worst season. This too should normalize. But he's striking out more than a batter an inning and I think there's some upside here for the prices. Wouldn't trust him for safety, but if he dials up the K's against a Twins teams with a K% of 22% then we are talking.

Edwin Jackson FanDuel 6700 DraftKings 8100 DraftStreet 14639
With Edwin you typically know real early which version is going. It's either real pretty (not often) or batting practice (increasingly more). But if there was a game for him to turn in a solid performance it's against the Padres and their tee-ball offense. I watched my nephew's game last weekend, this reference is apt. The Padres stink. Edwin actually has an xFIP in the low threes so this isn't as risky as you think. Great second or third pitcher at these prices.



Brian McCann FanDuel 3300 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 6236
He's going to start paying soon. Trust me. We are buying real low on him right now. I've been saying that for awhile now, but really the considerations haven't changed. He's running bad, plain and simple. The Babip is low. The HR/FB% is a tick low. The IFFB% is crushing his Babip and he is going to start turning some of these swings into hits. The rest of his batted ball profile is right in line with his career averages. The K's are down (so are the walks but that might be him pressing). Hector Noesi isn't as bad as his ERA would suggest, but he's about average. Oh and the ballpark boosts power to lefties. Start McCann.

John Jaso FanDuel 3100 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 6887
I think he'll be starting today as he usually does against righties. Jaso has an .822 OPS against righties over the last season with a 137 wRC+. Liam Hendriks is what you'd expect from a guy who bounces between AAA and the majors. He's just that kind of guy. Jaso's only real issue is the K% but he mitigates that some tonight by facing a Quad-A pitcher.

Chris Iannetta FanDuel 2700 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 5524
Iannetta has crazy huge splits against lefties. He's basically an all-star against that hand and horrible against righties. That's why we love DFS, because we only need to play guys like Iannetta tonight, against pitchers like Duffy. The 146 wRC+ against lefties should be all the proof you need. The Angels in general are good against southpaws and make a good team to target tonight.

Consider: Evan Gattis


First Basemen

I'm actually not overjoyed by the first base options today.

David Ortiz FanDuel 4000 DraftKings 4900 DraftStreet 9225
I do like me some Papi though. I'm even willing to look past the ballpark here. And even Archer, who's a fine pitcher. It just seems the price is right on Ortiz who's still among the elite hitters in the game. The price, in many places is well below the top tier and yet this is a guy who's rocking an OPS over .900 for the season, still walking a ton and hitting for power. First base has a number of question marks tonight. He isn't one of them.

Justin Morneau FanDuel 3700 DraftKings 4500 DraftStreet 8286
Want him a lot more when he's hitting in Coors obviously, but will do fine in this situation too. Many of the other Rockies are priced out of consideration for their expectation, but not Morneau. With the lefty/ righty matchup against (a very confusing) Gavin Floyd, I think you can look at Justin. The big thing with his game this year is how much he's limited his strikeouts. He's down to a K% of 10 from a career average of 15. Obviously the power is there too, a byproduct of playing in Coors (they aren't there tonight). But our system accounts for that and he's still near the top of the Pts/$ list for first base.

Justin Smoak FanDuel 2700 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 5697
You'll see a few Mariners on this list tonight. That's because of Brad Peacock. We'll get more in depth on him later. Believe me. Smoak is a fine hitter, though light hitting for first base. But that's priced in to his near-punt salary. If you are looking to save some coin today at this position (a strategy I will probably take) then Smoak makes a great fit.

Consider Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez


Second Basemen

Robinson Cano FanDuel 4000 DraftKings 5300 DraftStreet 7711
Though Brad Peacock has strikeout stuff, he has BB-stuff as well. This guy walks a ton of batters: six batters per nine, which is about as high as you'll see. Cano remains an elite offensive second basemen and has been the victim of some bad luck this season, especially in the home run category. He is due for some regression on his HR/FB% even playing away from Yankee Stadium now (he had more HRs on the road last season FWIW). Against Peacock he has some upside, especially if Brad starts walking the ballpark.

Dee Gordon FanDuel 3700 DraftKings 4900 DraftStreet 7147
Count me surprised as any about Roberto Hernandez actually being a serviceable pitcher this season. But he isn't going to blow hitters away and Dee Gordon, when on base, is a terror. Dude has already swiped 25 bags this season and doesn't look to be slowing down any. Taking a run at speed (like what I did there?) is a solid strategy, especially at a position like second. Gordon is elite in that category and, even though he's *ahem* running hot, I like him getting on base today and sprinting off the to races.

Howie Kendrick FanDuel 3400 DraftKings 4700 DraftStreet 6433
Price is a little up there, but Kendrick is so solid against lefties that I think you can try and get him in some cash games. He's just enough less than Cano and Gordon, while being around the same expectation as the latter that he can help make the salaries work if you are making a close decision somewhere else. Kendrick owns an .860 OPS against lefties over the last year and is a solid contact hitter that doesn't K a ton.

Consider Jedd Gyorko



Asdrubal Cabrera FanDuel 3400 DraftKings 4200 DraftStreet 5803
Cabrera is better against righties and Bud Norris is not a good pitcher. Dude's xFIP is in the mid 4's and he is striking out less than six per nine. That makes Asdrubal a decent value at an always difficult position to fill. He's sporting a mid 700's OPS, a solid number for a shortstop. Needs to get on base and let others help him around the bases. But such is the case with many at this position not named Tulo (too expensive).

J.J. Hardy FanDuel 2400 DraftKings 3500 DraftStreet 4254
You know we are typically looking to target Hardy against lefties and it's no different today. Hardy's biggest issue this year? 0 home runs. I don't suspect he has had a complete power outage, even if the numbers are suggesting something possibly troubling. But against T.J. House you are getting as good a chance as any to exploit the platoon splits Hardy is known for. He can't go the whole season without a home run can he? Can he?

Jed Lowrie FanDuel 3200 DraftKings 3900 DraftStreet 6265
Injuries are kind of a real thing with this guy, something to keep in mind. But when he's on the field he usually hits second in the lineup behind Crisp and in front of Cespedes and Donaldson. This is a pretty nice place to be. What I love about Lowrie this season is he's walking more than he's striking out. Very few guys in the game do this and it really makes him safe in cash games because it raises his floor. Babip is a bit low and he faces Hendriks, a AAA pitcher.

Consider Erick Aybar and Jean Segura


Third Basemen

Kyle Seager FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 4000 DraftStreet 5696
Mariners, Mariners, Mariners. It's the big theme for the day. Like I said, a primary reason for this is Brad Peacock's predisposition to walking opposing batters. Sure he strikes them out, but man that walk rate. Seager owns big time splits in favor of him facing righties; he's got a .367 wOBA and 133 wRC+ against them over the last year. He's striking out and grounding out a bit more than I'd care to see this season but the price makes him super advantageous today. I like him even if you aren't stacking Mariners.

Carlos Santana FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 4200 DraftStreet 3885
Went yard late in the game last night and I've been preaching the Carlos Santana-buy-low strategy for a while now. He's just been running so freaking bad that his numbers seem bound to pick up. Bud Norris doesn't have elite put away stuff, as evidenced by his K rate, and stacking the Tribe today is an upside play.

Manny Machado FanDuel 2800 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 4881
Machado, over the last year is actually dead even against righties and lefties. So I don't think you need to necessarily target him against he opposite hand. But it doesn't hurt either. Remember that T.J. House is an unproven AAA pitcher making his first start in the majors. He's an unheralded "prospect" and could get rocked tonight. Machado is at a discount hitting in the two hole in front of Davis, Jones and Cruz.

Consider Yangervis Solarte



Jacoby Ellsbury FanDuel 3600 DraftKings 4800 DraftStreet 6224
Like McCann above, I'm still buying on Jacoby even with the price dropping. Short of the home runs, he's basically the same, elite player he's always been. But the Hr/FB% is down from his career average and there may be a timeliness to his hitting that's costing him some points. Without delving further into it, he's also been a victim of other Yankees not holding up their end of the bargain. But I still really like the price on him and believe Ellsbury has some big games coming.

Coco Crisp FanDuel 3200 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 6945
His walks and strikeouts are at an equal percentage. This is usually a pretty good sign, at least from a safety standpoint. Crisp's 15% walk rate really raises his floor as well as hitting atop the A's lineup. Facing Liam Hendricks is also a step in the right direction. Crisp, like Ellsbury, is a multi-faceted player who can do a little of everything. Against a mediocre pitcher, this really feels like a great play.

Austin Jackson FanDuel 2700 DraftKings 4000 DraftStreet 5663
Jackson has been a Babip victim this season with his number about 70 points below his career average. He's flying out a lot more, but the HR/FB% is running below his career numbers as well. Everything else looks in line and his walks are even up. Against Scott Baker, you are in good shape here.

Jose Bautista FanDuel 4100 DraftKings 5300 DraftStreet 9398
Mike Trout FanDuel 4600 DraftKings 5900 DraftStreet 9666
I'm grouping these two guys together as big ticket dudes who have optimal matchups today in terms of splits. Each will cost you, and it's extremely unlikely you get  two of them together in the same lineup. But I can make a case for each one as a solid play. They rate out as the two biggest total point guys in the OF today because of their matchups. I typically don't roll like this in terms of picks, but honestly, mixing and matching these guys in different lineups is a pretty advantageous strategy.

Jason Heyward FanDuel 2900 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 5682
Our system is usually a fan. Don't love him against a groundball pitcher like Lyles, but the price is still low across the industry. He isn't going to be the superstar we were hoping for, but he's solid.

Consider Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Jones

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